VA Tech was selected to build the plant, which in the first phase will have capacity to treat 450,000 cubic metres a day of water serving a population of 2.1 million, against competition from Generale des Eauxand Degremont, both of France, and Germany’s Walter Bau. TSC and VA Tech are now negotiating the final contract, which will need to be approved by the World Bank before the formal signing can take place in Tehran in May.

On another package tendered as part of the wastewater scheme, at least 15 local and international contractors were prequalified to bid by 2 June for the construction of the eastern main trunk line. The estimated $44 million project covers the construction of an 18-kilometre tunnel, with diameters in the range of 200-300 centimetres, and the laying of concrete pipes.

TSC is also in final negotiations with an international consultancy firm for the contract to provide supervision services on the trunk line project. Among the companies that expressed interest in the project last year were the Halcrow Group, Maunsell Consultancy Servicesand Montgomery Watson– all of the UK.

A team of ILF Consulting Engineers, Kuwait-based KEO International Consultantsand the local Parsconsultis providing consultancy services and technical assistance to TSC.

During phase 2, which will be implemented between 2006 and 2011, wastewater capacity will be doubled to cover 4.2 million people. Phases 3-5 of the wastewater scheme will see further expansion of the network and the construction of an additional plant in southwest Tehran to serve a population of 10.5 million by 2029.

The phase-1 costs of the scheme are estimated at about $340 million, $145 million of which will be covered by the World Bank. Despite US pressure, the bank in May 2000 agreed to resume lending to Iran after seven years. TSC is providing parallel financing of $195 million.